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Streaming MP3s and DMCA
April 17, 2012 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Is it considered copyright infringement to stream an MP3 on a web page for promotional purposes? No download etc, just streaming.

I have received a DMCA notice on my blog and want to avoid any legal hassles.
posted by ascetic to Law & Government (16 answers total)
 
Also, just wanted to mention - some of the DMCA requests have been for remixes which are freely available via Soundcloud.com
posted by ascetic at 8:39 AM on April 17, 2012


Depends upon the original copyright of the MP3.

Did you create it? Is it CC licensed?
posted by unixrat at 8:39 AM on April 17, 2012


I did not create it. It is an unofficial remix of a copyrighted song, which as aforementioned, is available for free download via the remix artist's Soundcloud.
posted by ascetic at 8:43 AM on April 17, 2012


It's possible for Soundcloud to have permission to play the remixed song while you do not. Yes, it can most certainly be considered copyright infringement to stream an MP3, if you have a copy of the MP3 and are doing the streaming yourself. Copyright lets artists recieve fair compensation for their work, and if you're not compensating them (regardless of who else might be doing the same thing) then you could be violating their copyright. Just because Soundcloud does it for free doesn't mean you can also do what you believe is the same thing for free as well.
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:57 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who sent you the DMCA? The person who made the remix and put it on SoundCloud, or the person who owns the intellectual property rights to the original recording or the original song?
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:57 AM on April 17, 2012


The short-and-obvious-and-depressing answer: if you want to avoid legal hassles, take down the file.

The "streaming but no download" part of the question does not help you; the DMCA covers streaming media as well as downloadable. The "for promotional purposes" part doesn't help either.

You may be able to get away with linking to the remix artist's soundcloud page rather than offering the file directly.
posted by ook at 8:57 AM on April 17, 2012


@Sidhedevil: The copyright owner of the original version of the song.
posted by ascetic at 9:00 AM on April 17, 2012


Then you need to take it down. That they haven't bugged Soundcloud about doing it without a performance license is irrelevant--music licensing law is very clear.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:08 AM on April 17, 2012


Well, I replaced the embedded MP3 with an embed of the Soundcloud player, which ironically enough also includes a built-in download button. I feel like we just went around in a big circle, but as long as they are happy...
posted by ascetic at 9:14 AM on April 17, 2012


If the use of it in any way is helping you in any way to make ANY money they your are in violation. Whether that means the song is helping to create an atmosphere, support a point you're trying to advertise or whatever.
posted by zombieApoc at 9:16 AM on April 17, 2012


Then you'll be fine unless/until they take it off Soundcloud. Sometimes people like having their stuff on Soundcloud because they think it will bring them new audiences, whereas they think they wouldn't get that benefit from your site. Choosing to forgo compensation for one's intellectual property licensing in one case (because of presumed benefits) doesn't mean that you want to forgo it in all cases. I totally understand why it seems confusing from your end, because the presupposition that "they don't mind if it's out there for free" is perfectly logical. Apparently they only don't mind if it's out there for free in certain contexts.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:21 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I totally understand; however it's the original copyright holder who sent the DMCA... Not the remix artist. I didn't know hosting a remix was considered a copyright violation. Remixes are now illegal, eh?
posted by ascetic at 9:32 AM on April 17, 2012


Remixes should have obtained a mechanical reproduction license, yeah. Again, my guess is they let Soundcloud keep it up because there's a perceived benefit to them that they didn't see being the case on your site.

"Illegal" and "unlicensed" aren't the same thing, obviously. A DMCA is a request to remove unlicensed and unauthorized reproductions of content.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:43 AM on April 17, 2012


If the use of it in any way is helping you in any way to make ANY money

Actually that's completely irrelevant; a copyright violation is a copyright violation regardless of whether it's for profit.

I didn't know hosting a remix was considered a copyright violation. Remixes are now illegal, eh?

Copyright applies to audio samples as well as to complete songs. It's possible that the remix artist has acquired the rights to those samples -- in which case by republishing the remixer's work you'd be violating both the remixer's and the original artist's copyrights -- or the remixer is in violation too and the original copyright holder has not gotten around to (or has for whatever reason not chosen to) issue a DMCA to them.
posted by ook at 10:12 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Remixes are now illegal, eh?

They always have been, unless specific agreements have been made with the copyright owner. Enforcement is another story entirely.
posted by Aquaman at 10:50 AM on April 17, 2012


Remixes are now illegal, eh?

"His last headline grabbing incident was seizing 100 per cent of the royalties of The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, over the use of a sample from an orchestral recording of The Rolling Stones ‘The Last Time’"
posted by iviken at 11:01 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


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